May 31, 2009 by Julien Perry
Chef Bo Maisano serves up a gourmet happy hour
By Julien Perry
915 E Pine ST, 2nd Floor
Seattle, WA 98122
When I first saw The Tin Table sandwich board outside of Oddfellows on Capitol Hill, I thought it might be advertising a Caribbean band playing at Century Ballroom. But upon closer inspection, I noticed the words “happy hour,” which sent me running up the creaky wooden stairs to the second floor.
What awaited me was a new restaurant that would become a fast favorite. The Tin Table is a sexy little thing with old Southern charm. The hardwood floors and exposed brick walls make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a speakeasy set to music by one of those Pottery Barn Cocktail Lounge compilations. The plush décor is studded with sparkly modern nuances like the glassware that literally shines when the sun bounces off of the long, tin-plated bar. The tin plating comes from one of three huge fire doors that were found earlier this year when office space was demolished to make room for the restaurant. Another door can be found in the entryway, while the other is being used as the restaurant’s communal table (yes, the Tin Table).
Now, back to that happy hour that initially drew me to T³ — it’s awesome. From 3pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Sunday, diners are treated to a menu of $5 cosmos, wine and champagne pours and a half-dozen nibbles like fish tacos stuffed to the gills with huge chunks of seasonal white fish, roasted sweet onions and spicy Napa slaw ($5) that more than make up for the disappointingly bland salt cod fritters with roasted garlic sauce ($5).
Chef Bo Maisano, formerly of 1200 Bistro and Madison Park Café, created a menu that reflects his favorite foods growing up in New Orleans with an Italian family; a menu where a delicate orecchiette pasta with arugula and brown butter sauce dances with Thai pork ribs, crab cakes and BBQ shrimp.
I was so smitten with the whimsy and pure comfort of The Tin Table that I went back for dinner the next week. I started with grilled stuffed eggplant rolls filled with lemon-thyme ricotta atop tomato basil sauce ($7). The four dainty rolls packed a creamy, flavorful and decadent punch. For my main course, I chose the pan-seared halibut with seasonal veggies and citrus butter sauce ($13) and a mind-blowing simple octopus confit with garbanzos. But as I was loving on my meal and the sound of swing dancing across the hall in the ballroom, my mind was bombarded with a series of vexing questions: How can Bo serve this kind of food at such low prices? And where was everyone? The cuisine was a rockin’, but only a handful of patrons had come a knockin’ that evening. My restless mind was quickly eased by the bottle of 2004 Mauro Molino Barolo my date had ordered, further setting the mood for an evening of eating, drinking and most importantly, having fun.
While you’ll probably never find me cutting rug at Century Ballroom, chances are pretty good that you’ll catch me doing the happy dance after dinner at The Tin Table.